CHARACTERS: Ear wears a mask depicting two huge black and green ears with some red and blue lobes. Quito with a face painted to depict a mosquito is seated on or near one side of the audience area. Mos, also painted to depict a mosquito is seated on or near another side of the audience area. Sound is that of mosquito. It can be instrumental or projected electronically.
A seat for Ear at the centre of a bare main stage.
(Continuous sound of mosquito. Ear is seated as lights come on stage).
Ear: I no longer sleep these days since Mosquito and its father and mother and children and grand children and the whole clan of mosquitoes have learnt to disturb me at all times of the day (Sound is loud. Ear keeps quiet. The sound seems to have a sequence. Ear turns from side to side trying to determine the nature of the sound). You see. It is now a continuous song. I wonder what the mosquito family is celebrating (Sound increases).
Quito: My husband, Mos, is that your voice I hear wailing like a ghost in the wilderness? (Sound subsides)
Mos: (Gets up, adjusts tie and delivers speech in an arrogant manner) I am not your husband. I have admonished you about your incessant and stubborn reference to me as your husband. Ever since you defied my injunction and crossed the boundary to meet with enemies in my fight with Ear, I began to sever my relationship with you. That loving protection and warmth that you obtain from me is no longer available. Not until you recant and become the dutiful and submissive mate that I married.
Quito: (Gets up) My husband! You don’t know what you are saying.
Ear: The sound of mosquito has stopped. At last, I can now have some rest after keeping watch for such a long time (Ear’s head flaps and it soon starts to snore).
Quito: My husband! I said that you do not know what you are saying (moves towards Mos). You and I are united as one. I am your wife. You are my dear husband. This is why I cannot be at peace when my husband moans like a rickety bus on the jagged route of a shaky homestead (Ear’s snores are audible).
Mos: (Moving threateningly towards Quito) Miss Quito! You call me names! Rickety Bus. Rough Road. Dirty Homestead. Miss Quito! You call me names that the most valiant of your female tribe would not have dared use yesterday.
Quito: (laughing) What is wrong with your brain, my man. We belong to the same tribe. I am your wife. Our children are ...
Mos: My children have no future in this new dispensation, this new world where Ear sleeps in peace (Ear’s snores are audible). Ear sleeps in peace and my offsprings are deprived of their rights and privileges....
Quito: As tormentors of Ear? (Walks back to seat).
Mos: As landlords. Owners of this land (moans and walks back to his seat. Sound).
Ear: (Waking up). Hei. Hei. A...ah. Sound of mosquito. It must be angry because I slept. It saw me. That is one advantage it has over me. It is so tiny that it can hide in the smallest crevice and watch me, while I cannot see it. However, I have succeeded in sleeping, after all these years of battle. Ha! That prolonged battle (getting up to address the audience). It has a long history. Mosquito arrived here and asked to live with me. I said, ‘Why not. This is God’s land.’ You see, God placed me here between two seas and said to me, “My child, Ear, listen. I have equipped this land for you. You must work hard and reap its benefits. Leave in peace with the others.’ I asked God, ‘Who are the others?’ No answer came from God but soon I discovered others who were given the same injunction by God. Eye saw me first. Then it introduced me to Mouth, Nose, Hand, Legs and others. I met many of them sowing and eating from the land. Very soon, we began to specialize in tasks. I became the one that hears for the others. Eye saw things for all of us. Legs carried us across the veldt, from one sea to another sea. Hand sowed seeds, harvested food. Head thought for us. Mouth specialized in the difficult task of chewing and eating the food for our nourishment. Anus had its job. Unenviable, I must say. It expelled the waste products. Nose covered itself whenever Anus was at it. Eye also covered itself for it did not want to see the awkward position. I never liked to hear the sound of it. However, jobs had to be done. Any worker knows the value of rest. When we were tired, Buttocks would take up the job (going back to sit). Buttocks sat while we rested. We even had time to sleep. All of a sudden (getting up). All of a sudden, Mosquito arrived. Good. We welcomed Mosquito. It said that it specialized in guarding the waters. It said it was necessary to prevent invaders from attacking us by sea. We welcomed mosquito to our fold. Why not (goes back to seat). With Mosquito guarding the sea, we could work and rest in peace, build and benefit from the land as instructed by God. But. Mosquito did not want peace. It wanted to subdue us and make us slaves. We refused (sound). Mosquito declared war against us. We thought it was a joke. It was not a joke. It struck. We assembled weapons and fought back. Mosquito had a deadly weapon. Malaria. Its mentor was death. We died in millions. We became few. We became sad. We succumbed to Mosquito’s malaria and its children called fever, cough, aches and pains used to keep us in check. They weakened us with sickness. Leg would complain of malaria weakness and could not carry us. Eye would turn yellow with malaria fever and could not see the enemy. I would ache from pain and would not hear the sound of mosquito. Mosquito’s surprise attacks destroyed our organization. Mosquito and its wife and children took over the land. We began to work for it. Yet we had no peace because it continued to torment us with malaria. After the initial shock of defeat, we began to plan. We planned and planned and planned. Eyes searched, Nose sniffed, and we found herbs that could cure malaria and herbs that could kill Mosquito. When Mosquito saw that we had become strong again and had weapons for wiping it off from our land, it agreed to negotiate with us. Some of its children had become our friends, some even condemned their parent. Well, some of us said that we should forgive Mosquito. Others said that we should use the herbs to kill Mosquito and all its children. As for me, I said, ‘Mosquito leave me in peace and I’ll leave you in peace. If you bring malaria, I’ll kill it. If you stand on my way, I’ll kill you.’ But what does mosquito say? (Sound).
Mos: Miss Quito.
Quito: (Springs up) I am not Miss Quito. (Deliberately) I am Sisi Mosquito.
Mos: Divorce my name from yours, please! You lover of Ear.
Mos: I’ll ignore the accusation of infidelity and inform you that I cannot reject the name of my children and every member of this family. (Deliberately and proudly, taking one step after each short sentence as she emphasizes with gestures) I am Mosquito. You are Mosquito. Our children are Mosquitoes. So you do not have monopoly of the name. God made us mosquitoes.
Mos: (Moaning) My problems are too numerous. Ear is giving me problems. Quito is giving me problems. Which of them do I fight?
Quito: We are not your problem. Your problem is that you think only of war. If you lay down your weapons and think of peace, you will see that no one is interested in fighting you. I am not fighting you. Ear is not fighting you. It only wants peace and not be tormented by you.
Mos: Who will perform your domestic chores if I don’t torment Ear and force it to execute your responsibilities?
Quito: You will work. I will work. We will share our work.
Mos: Me? (Laughing and retreating) Will I wash napkins soiled by your children and dirty my hands in the kitchen and cook for you?
Quito: I have washed our children’s napkins and cooked in the kitchen for all of us all these years. Welcome to the nursery and the kitchen (She makes to go back to her seat but is halted by his questions).
Mos: And my farm? Who will cultivate the fields and gather the harvest?
Quito: You will work in the farm. I will work in the farm. Out children will work. We’ll work together as family just as Ear does with its family.
Mos: (Advancing towards her) You’re going mad, Miss Quito! You are sick. Very sick in the head. A manic-depressive condition, I presume, contacted through consorting with Ear.
Quito: (Holding her ground) I ignore the provocation as usual because that is what you do to distract me from my point. You know that I am realistic, so listen to this. Ear is now liberated. He does not want to work for free. We have to do the work ourselves or buy its labor at its price.
Mos: Never! (Breaks off). My tribe has never been known to give up easily. My offsprings must enjoy the rights and privileges that I enjoyed. (Turning to her again) You, listen to me, please. You must go quietly to Ear’s homestead and inject the babies with deadly parasites. While they are dealing with that, I’ll start another war.
Quito: You know that they have herbs that kill us. I don’t want to die. I don’t want our children to die. I don’t want my tribe to be wiped off by Ear.
Mos: Do as I tell you!
Quito: I have told them that I will no longer poison their blood or such their blood (She starts walking back to her seat).
Mos: (Following Quito) And what blood will nourish my offsprings if you make such stupid promises?
Quito: I’m teaching our children to adapt to the new life and earn their privileges.
Mos: You are brainwashing my offsprings. You are corrupting them with communist nonsense.
Quito: Some of the males are learning how to wash napkins.
Mos: And you pump my boys with subversive ideas of female importance!
Quito: (Turns and faces him) It is called equal opportunity.
Mos: That is pure communism. Anti-God ideas (Moans and stumps towards his seat contemplatively. Sound).
Ear: Mosquito again. Just when I am starting to rest, it sings loudly. I wonder what it is celebrating in its homestead. Maybe it has manufactured another deadly weapon. (Realization) Yes! I know what is happening. Mosquito is making plans... The sound is a war cry. I can hear moaning. I can hear its threats beyond the song of trees. And I must do my duty. I must warn others about the new music of Mosquito ( Sound increases and fills the stage. Ear address the audience). Assemble the herbs. Herbs for killing. Herbs for curing. Even those for confusion. All of them. War with Mosquito is imminent (Exits).
Mos: (Abruptly) Miss Quito.
Quito: Mos! I have told you not to call me Miss Quito. But you have become so insensitive to my feelings that you don’t take my words seriously. I am now Sisi Mosquito.
Mos: Sisi. You borrowed the name from Ear’s language.
Quito: Yes. And you can begin to integrate with Ear. We share the same land. We might as well marry our ways with Ear’s. ways
Mos: Marry Ear’s culture. Go. Marry Ear. (Forcefully) I have divorced you finally. From now on, drop my name.
Quito: You are not serious about breaking your relationship with me. (Walking towards him)You come to me every night pleading that I go and suck blood from Ear’s flesh. ‘For our children’s sake. For their nourishment. For continuity of our tribe,’ you always pleaded.
Mos: And you still oblige me.
Quito: Because you always looked so pathetic, I used to fly out.
Mos: And suck Ear’s blood! (Quito halts). (Pause). You suck blood! Is it not so!
Quito: (Subdued) Yes.
Mos: You hypocrite. (Gloating and inspecting her) You consume blood because you enjoy it. (Inspects again) Vampire! And you say you do it for me. You suck blood because you love to do it.
Quito: (Trying to regain her dignity) I will show you that I do not enjoy it. I feel pain for Ear when it weeps for its children suffering from malaria.
Mos: (Firmly)Yet you inject malaria parasite into them and pretend to pity them. Be honest, Miss Quito. You relish tormenting Ear just as I do. Do not pretend that you do it because you love me.
Quito: Thank you Mos for being ungrateful. Thank you for liberating me. (Confidently) I shall start to live my life as I have always wanted. Thanks to Ear.
Mos: What do you mean? Quito. Are you saying that you will no longer suck Ear’s blood and inject malaria parasite into its children?
Quito: (Firmly) I am saying that I have obeyed you for too long. I am saying that I should learn from Ear.
Mos: And fight me?
Quito: I am saying that it is high time you faced a negotiating table (Mos staggers in astonishment). You have been calling me Miss Quito. You said you have divorced me, Mister Mos. So we have to decide how to face life in this new dispensation as Miss Quito and Mister Mos.
Mos: My wife, you are really mad. You ought to have known that I did not mean to divorce you. It’s a joke.
Quito: It may be your joke, but I mean it. And stop insulting me. I have ignored your insult for so long that you now take it as normal.
Mos: Please. Cool down (tries to touch her but she brushes him off). Peace. I cannot have a civil war in my house. We need to face the enemy together as one.
Quito: In that case, we need a big negotiating table. (Demonstrating positions) You on one side. Ear and his clan on the other side. Miss Quito in the middle. (She is now in the centre of their acting space).
Mos: Me and my wife to sit on the same table with my servants. God forbid! (Walks away).
Quito: You forget so easily when it suits you. I am not your wife.
Mos: (Shocked) You are my wife. I have the papers to prove it.
Quito: (Still at the centre) You have no papers to force me to do your will.
Mos: But...but... (walking to her). I love you. You are mine. You...Oh. My head is aching (moans). My joints. Fever. My wife, I am feeling ill.
(Mos continues to moan. Sound. END).
title: Mosquitoe's Last Card - play
Last update: January 4, 2011
Web page by C. G. Okafor
Chinyere G. Okafor